Migraines can be influenced by adequate nutrition - experts agree. But what role does food play as a trigger of migraine? Can a diet shift help prevent headache attacks? While the root causes of migraine have not yet been explored, it is certain that the individual attacks of pain are caused by an interaction of individual triggers. Such so-called trigger factors can be different environmental influences, for example stress, weather changes, noise or hormonal changes. Diet also plays an important role.
Diet as a migraine trigger?
Often sufferers observe an influence of the diet on their migraine. Many report migraine attacks after eating certain foods: Common names include red wine, cheese, citrus fruits and sweets. Also, the flavor enhancer glutamate, preservatives such as nitrates and the histamine contained for example in alcohol and hard cheese are suspected to cause migraine.
However, the triggers can not be named so easily. Some sufferers describe coffee as a migraine trigger, while other caffeine withdrawal leads to seizures. And while chocolate used to be a trigger for migraines, today it's well-known that cravings for sweets are a sign of an imminent migraine attack. In addition, it is often reported that migraine sufferers suffer from certain intolerances such as histamine or glutamate. Those affected should therefore closely monitor the role of nutrition in their own attacks.
Find your own migraine trigger
Experts recommend that you determine the individual trigger factors using a migraine diary. In addition to the frequency and severity of migraine attacks, for example, factors such as sleep duration, weather conditions and nutrition should be recorded in detail. It has to be taken into account that food intake up to an attack usually takes several hours.
Together with a doctor, sufferers may be able to find the personal triggers of migraines. If it turns out that one's own diet is a trigger, targeted omission or eating certain foods can bring about an improvement.
Nutrition tips for migraine
Since the influence of diet on migraine is individually different, doctors advise against a general waiver of certain foods. Targeted omission is only recommended if individual foods have been clearly identified as triggers. However, even known trigger factors do not have to trigger a headache attack every time, because often only the interaction of several factors is the decisive factor.
Balanced and eat regularly
Experts suspect that the processing of stimuli in the brain of migraineurs is associated with an increased energy requirement. Therefore, to prevent seizures, sufferers should eat regularly, do not skip meals - especially breakfast - and make small snacks to ensure that the body is well nourished. Drinking enough is also important.
Migraines should look for a healthy, balanced and wholesome diet that does not burden the body. For example, too much fat, salt or hot spicy food can be heavy in the stomach. Ready meals often contain colorants, preservatives or flavor enhancers and are therefore less compatible than a fresh, self-cooked meal.
Vegetarian or vegan as a solution?
A fundamental change to a vegetarian, vegan or alkaline diet can - as fasting cures - cause an improvement, because these diets renounce some strong stimuli of food. However, such outlet diets can also lead to deficiency symptoms and, as a result, to aggravation of the symptoms.
Therefore, it is important to closely observe your own body, if necessary seek medical advice. Those affected should also pay attention to their magnesium and vitamin B2 household. In addition to relaxation and exercise, proper nutrition can help prevent migraine attacks.